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Month: August 2012

Gaffer’s Tape for Emergency Bike Repairs

I recently came into possession of a roll of fluorescent green Pro-Gaff gaffer’s tape. To date I’ve got little experience with gaffer’s tape, but from playing with and reading up on it, it appears to be the sort of tape that does everything that one ascribes duct tape to do, but probably actually does it. Most specifically, it has less vinyl and a finer cloth structure in the tape itself, and the adhesive is synthetic rubber and designed to be removed cleanly.

As a result of this, I replaced the duct tape wrapped around my bicycle pump handle with some of this tape. I think that, should the need arise to use tape for emergency bicycle repairs, this will be the tape of choice. The cloth leads me to believe it’ll be a very functional tire boot, and the finer adhesive seems like it won’t stick to itself as readily, a problem which generally renders a piece of duct tape unusable.

Shown above is my Crank Brothers Power Pump Ultra with seven or eight turns of tape wrapped around the handle. I’ve been quite happy with this pump so far; it’s just worked every time I’ve needed to use it.

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Tailwind Racing’s Medals are Shiny

Today was Tailwind Racing’s Stony End of Summer Classic race, and I found myself competing in it. A bit surprisingly I ended up coming in fifth, which got me a medal, shown above. This is the first time I’ve received any medal in a race since some of the Lake Orion High School weeknight races three years back. These are pretty nice medals. There is a sticker on the back which lists the race, class, and place.

This was a really fun race. It was somewhat hot, humid, and a bit dusty, but it was fun. Everyone that I encountered was really courteous and good about passing and being passed, the course was a good length without having an irritating extra short/steep sledding hill at the end. My official time ended up being 1:50:55.399 with laps of 35:49.943, 37:46.442, and 37:19.014. Only once did I almost throw up, but I was able to get that under control and keep going without any problems.

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Titus Frame Damage

While out riding at Highland last weekend I fell over on the Titus. I slightly injured my shin, but also took a few scrapes out of the down tube. This is the first scrape-type damage done to the bike in 2.5 years of riding it (and the only frame damage), so it’s a bit frustrating. Still, I guess it’s not bad after that much riding.

This isn’t anything that should cause any problems (it’s just cosmetic), so that’s at least good.

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Addison Oaks MTB Route in OpenStreetMap

With the upload of OpenStreetMap changeset 12787189 I have finished adding all of the hiking and equestrian trails, intersection markers, and mile markers needed to draw a second generation version of CRAMBA’s Addison Oaks map. This data includes the still-under-construction connector trail which’ll create a new park entrance at Indian Lake and Lake George and provide a safe route to Addison Oaks East and Oakland Township’s Cranberry Lake Park. I also added all of the named routes through the park as found on the official park map, including the specific hiking, biking, and equestrian permissions and restrictions.

If all goes according to plan, the next version of the map will show the actual locations of the C and D trails, shared hike/bike/equestrian (on C only) areas in the west of the park while highlighting the MTB route. The mountain bike route (trail F) frequently crosses these trails and occasionally shares their route, so I want to better illustrate the interplay between them all. This next version will also be based on OpenStreetMap data, which beyond the benefits of being CC BY-SA licensed should make it easier to update and use for future planning.

The only things I have left to add to OpenStreetMap before it’ll be usable for drawing a complete map of the park are a few campground roads and the B loop, a relatively flat and straight hike/bike loop around the campground in the northeast of the park. I’ll probably record that route the next time I’m at the park.


External Intel 320 SSD

A couple weeks back, the Intel 320 SSD in my iMac failed, leaving the machine unbootable and the drive appearing as an 8MB volume. This drive was replaced with a new 256GB Crucial M4 SSD and the Intel drive was returned for warranty replacement.

Having no immediate need for another SSD but not wanting to have this one laying around I decided to put it in a Macally PHR-S250UAB external enclosure and use it as another piece of fast storage on my Mac. While the installation went well I’m not quite happy with the performance. Despite being connected via FireWire 800 (IEEE 1394b-2002) couple of benchmark tools report only around 80 MB/sec read and 65 MB/sec write while the spinning piece of rust inside the computer reports something like 105 MB/sec read and 107 MB/sec write. It’ll be much lower latency than a spinning disk, but I’m not sure it’ll provide improvement over the internal disk, especially for things I was hoping to do with it like running VMs.

Maybe I’ll give it a try on my work laptop for VMs there, or maybe I’ll see if it’d work out well in Danielle’s Macbook Pro.

The photo above shows the external enclosure with an Intel-provided case sticker applied to the top in place of Macally’s branding. Except for the residual curved blue logo pieces at the end that didn’t fall outside of the cutoff area, I think this worked pretty well. Here is a photo of it all being assembled.

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20 Miles before 8:00 AM

After dropping Danielle off for the her volunteering / crewing at Oakland Mall for the 3-Day and picking up an apple fritter from Donut Castle in Warren I found myself home just a little after 5:00 AM. With a fair bit of time before needing to start work and my feeling sleepy I decided to head out to River Bends for a quick ride.

I returned home just shy of two hours later, having headed up to River Bends via the usual route, through 2.5 laps of the ridable single track (all but the floodplain seasonal loops), then back home via Utica and Whispering Woods Park. The photo above is from a brief jaunt down into the floodplain to see how wet it was. I came across Jeremy’s bridge, which will hopefully be put back some time within the next week.

Since I was starting out in the dark I brought along lights, but they were unnecessary for seeing on pavement, and not needed in the woods by the time I was done with the first lap. This was the first starting-in-darkness ride I’ve done, and as I’m not accustomed to starting off in the dark and needing lights less and less as things progress it was a bit weird. The sun also comes from completely different angles in the morning, making it unexpectedly glaring on some parts of the trail and causing a few stop lights to be difficult to see.

Details of the ride are available here on Strava if you’re interested.

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The Circle of Life

This is the scene on the sidewalk near the front porch: a group of ants eating the remains of a squished cricket full of orange pulp-looking eggs. I wonder if this is the cricket that I’ve been hearing at night when falling asleep.

Nature takes care of its own.

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